Afternoon Tea Cupcakes

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” Henry James

When lunch is a distant memory and dinner still feels like a long way off, there is nothing more enjoyable than the light relief of the delicate sweet treats and savoury snacks of Afternoon Tea.

Perhaps that most quintessential of all English customs, the Afternoon tea is surprisingly a relatively new tradition which was introduced in 1840 by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford.

The Duchess found that she become hungry mid-afternoon due to the long period of time that past between lunch and the fashionably late serving of dinner at eight ’o’clock. She began inviting her friends to enjoy tea and ‘a light refreshment’ in her rooms at Woburn Abbey, a daily ritual that soon became fashionable and was popularised by Queen Victoria.

To celebrate ‘Afternoon Tea Week’, an annual date that falls every second week of August, how about trying out these delicious Vanilla Cupcakes, the perfect sweet treats to accompany a thirst-quenching pot of earl grey!

Read my ‘Time for Tea’ article here >>

 

Print Recipe
Afternoon Tea Cupcakes Yum
Course Sweet Things
Servings
Ingredients
For the Cupcakes
For the Buttercream Icing
Course Sweet Things
Servings
Ingredients
For the Cupcakes
For the Buttercream Icing
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and prepare a cupcake tin with paper cases.
  2. Mix the butter and sugar together in a bowl until a creamy consistency is achieved. Fold in the beaten eggs, vanilla extract, milk and sifted flour.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the cupcake paper cases until they are half full.
  4. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes until golden brown. To check they have cooked, simply insert a skewer or folk into one and if it comes out clean, then you know they’re ready to come out of the oven.
  5. Set aside the tin to cool for a while, then remove the cupcakes from the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.
Recipe Notes

To make the Buttercream Icing

1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth and creamy.

2. Now place the buttercream into a piping bag and carefully pipe the icing on to the cupcake using a spiralling motion to create a beautiful swirl effect and decorate with a wafer biscuit flake.

To give the cupcakes an extra special finishing touch for afternoon tea... cut strips of your favourite floral wrapping paper (I like to use scalloped scissors to create a decorative curved or zig zag edged effect) and gently wrap around the cupcake cases, to create an beautiful and elegant display.

Sea bass With Pesto Dressing

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Sea bass With Pesto Dressing Yum
Sea bass tastes great all year round as both a dinner party dish or a light supper. This recipe is an extremely simple, but delicious meal for two people that is packed full of colour and flavour.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10-30 minutes
Servings
people
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10-30 minutes
Servings
people
Recipe Notes

1.  To prepare the fish, slash the sea bass diagonally on each side. Now carefully tuck the rosemary sprigs into the gut cavities and lightly brush over the fish with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt.

2. Now heat the olive oil (2 tbsp) in a pan and set to a medium heat and fry the sea bass skin-side down for 4 minutes. Turn the sea bass and fry for a further 4 minutes until the skin is crisp and golden. Once cooked, place the fish in a serving plate and dress with your favourite salad.

3. To make the pesto, simply blend all the pesto ingredients together in a food processor until you achieve a coarse texture and spoon the mixture over the sea bass.

Rose Cocktail

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Rose Cocktail Yum
Summer makes me think of roses. Sophie Dahl's rose cocktail recipe is immensely feminine and equally simple to make. Sprinkle with edible rose petals for a delicate yet glamorous finish.
Course Sweet Things
Servings
Ingredients
Course Sweet Things
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Pour the prosecco into the serving glasses and then drizzle the rose syrup gently on top, allowing it to trickle down to the bottom.

Mini Meringues

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Mini Meringues Yum
I have always been a huge fan of meringues. They are unashamedly easy to make, yet look so vibrant and beautiful piled onto a plate or cake stand. Serve them to friends after dinner as petit fours or in large batches at a party. This recipe makes 24, but you're bound to need more so just double up the quantities and you're away!
Course Sweet Things
Servings
Ingredients
Course Sweet Things
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 150 C.
  2. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
  3. In a large clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff.
  4. Gradually beat in sugar until a little of the mixture between your thumb and forefinger feels smooth, not gritty.
  5. Stir in vanilla extract/food colouring.
  6. Pipe or spoon small portions onto tray and bake for 35 minutes, or until dry but not browned.
  7. Turn off the oven but leave meringues to cool down completely inside it.
  8. If you like, sprinkle with some edible gold dust etc9. Serve on one of our cake stands for a really dramatic effect.

Lavender Buttermilk Scones

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Lavender Buttermilk Scones Yum
Scones are simple to make and are just what the doctor ordered for a summer picnic or afternoon tea in the garden. These are lavender flavoured, which makes them that little bit more elegant; all you have to do is infuse the sugar with some sprigs a day or two before baking and you're good to go. Serve warm on one of our cake stands, and add a generous dollop of clotted cream, your favourite preserve, or just some butter if you'd prefer. Recipe courtesy of Bonne Maman
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220˚C.
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Stir in the lavender sugar and salt and make a well in the centre of the flour mixture.
  4. Pour in the buttermilk and mix to combine, making a soft dough.
  5. Briefly knead the dough on a floured board then lightly roll out to about 2cm thick.
  6. Cut scones with a 6cm pastry cutter and place on a greased baking tray.
  7. Brush the top of each scone with a little extra buttermilk and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned on the top.
  8. Cool on a wire rack and serve warm with your favourite conserve.

Banana and Date Loaf

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Banana and Date Loaf Yum
Quite addictive, this cake will disappear from the plate in minutes. The optional mascarpone topping gives a nice sweet edge. Serve it as part of afternoon tea on one of our beautiful cake stands!
Course Sweet Things
Cook Time 40 Minutes
Servings
Ingredients
For the Loaf
For the Topping
Course Sweet Things
Cook Time 40 Minutes
Servings
Ingredients
For the Loaf
For the Topping
Instructions
  1. Sift the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder into a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the lard and margarine and rub in until evenly distributed, being careful to use only the fingertips.
  3. Stir in the sugar and chopped dates.
  4. Peel and mash the bananas and then add them to the mixture together with the milk. The mixture will seem fairly stiff.
  5. Spoon into a 900 g (2 lb) loaf tin and smooth over the top, making a slight indent in the middle to encourage the cake to rise evenly.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven at Gas Mark 5, 190°C, 375°F for approximately 30 minutes, then turn the oven down to Gas Mark 3, 170°C, 325°F and bake for a further 40 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Turn out and leave to cool completely.
  7. Mix the mascarpone cheese and icing sugar together and spread over the top of the cooled loaf.

Mini Scones

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Mini Scones Yum
Who doesn't enjoy a fresh, home-made scone? Easy and cheap to make, they are also simply scrumptious. They may not be the most delicate of foods, but this recipe suggests using smaller cutters to create mini scones, which can then of course be elegantly served on one of our lovely glass cake stands with afternoon tea. We prefer them fresh from the oven, with a dollop of clotted cream and a good quality (or home-made) raspberry jam. I can taste them already...
Course Sweet Things
Servings
Ingredients
Course Sweet Things
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 220 C.
  2. Sift the flour, salt and sugar into a bowl.
  3. Rub in the butter using the tips of your fingers only, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  4. Combine the ingredients in a large mixing bowl until it creates a soft dough.
  5. Lightly flour your work surface, and knead the dough.
  6. Roll out or use your hands to pat down the mixture, and cut using small pastry cutters or the top of an espresso cup.
  7. Grease and lightly flour baking parchment, and place on the little cut outs of dough.
  8. Lightly brush with milk and bake for 10 minutes or until a golden brown.
  9. Cool on a wire rack or eat whilst still warm with clotted cream and a preserve of your choice.

Moroccan Mint Cooler

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Moroccan Mint Cooler Yum
There is nothing more invigorating on a humid afternoon than this refreshing Morocco-inspired Mint Tea Cooler. Combining tart lemons, sweet brown sugar, fresh aromatic mint and thirst-quenching tea, this delicious mix tantalises the taste buds, while hinting at the exotica of Morocco. Perfect as a palette cleanser or after meal treat, serve your cooler from an authentic Moroccan tea set, for an easy yet impressive delivery.
Instructions
  1. Fill a saucepan with water
  2. Add two tablespoons of brown sugar and bring to the boil.
  3. Turn off the heat and add your tea bag. Allow the tea to steep for three minutes before removing the tea bag.
  4. Add lightly crushed mint leaves
  5. Add the juice of two lemons
  6. Chill mixture
  7. Run a lemon slice around edge of your Moroccan tea glasses, then dip the rims in the remaining brown sugar
  8. Fill your Moroccan tea glasses half full with crushed ice.
  9. Pour your mint tea cooler over the ice
  10. Garnish with a lemon slice and a sprig of mint Serve any remaining mint tea cooler from a traditional Moroccan tea-pot.

Gatsby Cocktail: Basil Gin Fizz

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Gatsby Cocktail: Basil Gin Fizz Yum
The 1920s was the era of prohibition. It was illegal to drink alcohol, yet ironically more was drunk than ever before. Americans sneakily brewed and sold their own beverages on the black market, and it became in vogue to drink exotic and exciting cocktails. Gin, in particular was hugely popular during bootlegging times, and many people actually made it at home in their bath tubs!So, in celebration of The Great Gatsby film release, here is Alison at Home’s Head of Product Development and former mixologist Erika Foster’s modern twist on a 1920s favourite- a Basil Gin Fizz. All you need now is a dazzling dress to wear whilst sipping it...
Instructions
  1. In the bottom of a chilled, tall glass muddle the basil with the elderflower and lemon juice.
  2. Fill the glass to the top with ice and then add the gin.
  3. Stir with a stir stick to fully incorporate the elderflower into the gin.
  4. Top with the club soda.
  5. Serve with a stir stick and garnish as desired.

Father’s Day Gourmet Beef Burgers

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Father's Day Gourmet Beef Burgers Yum
What better to impress your dad with this Father’s Day than a gourmet burger? Perfect for popping on the BBQ or under the grill, these are really easy to make and taste delicious with sweet potato wedges or skin-on chips.
Instructions
  1. Preheat your grill to medium heat or light your BBQ.
  2. Finely chop the onion, garlic cloves, parsley and gherkin.
  3. Place all of these ingredients plus the mince, mustard, yolk, herbs and chilli flakes into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Shape the mixture into 8 burgers and brush with oil.
  6. Cook on the BBQ or in a grill.
  7. Serve on a soft sesame seed bun with your choice of toppings. A slice of beef tomato, lettuce, caramelised onion and a chunk of fresh avocado would work wonderfully, as well as a dollop of lemon mayonnaise.
  8. Hold together with a wooden skewer for a professional look

Salmon, Dill and Creme Fraiche Tartlets

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Salmon, Dill and Creme Fraiche Tartlets Yum
It is June, so it seems only right that Alison at Home should bring you a recipe which is perfect for picnicking. These precious little tartlets are so simple to make and have a beautifully delicate flavour. So lay out your picnic blanket, pour the prosecco and enjoy.
Course Big Bites
Servings
Ingredients
For the Pastry
For the Filling
Course Big Bites
Servings
Ingredients
For the Pastry
For the Filling
Instructions
For the Pastry
  1. Sift the flour into a large bowl and mix with a pinch of salt.
  2. Add the butter in cubes, and rub together until you have fine crumbs.
  3. Add the milk and bind.
  4. Lightly flour a surface, and knead the mixture until you have a smooth dough.
  5. Roll the dough out thinly and place over a tin with room for 8 tarts, approx 4’ across.
  6. Prick the pastry and leave to chill in the fridge for half an hour.
  7. Preheat your oven to 200C.
  8. Bake the pastry cases blind with grease proof for 10 minutes, and then without the paper for 6 minutes, or until golden brown.
For the Filling
  1. Season the salmon.
  2. Cook in olive oil over a medium heat for 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through.
  3. Once cooked, leave to one side and beat the creme fraiche and eggs in a bowl until smooth.
  4. Mix in the dill, salt and spring onions.
  5. Sprinkle the salmon into the pastry cases.
  6. Pour over the egg mixture and cook in the oven for 20 minutes.

Virgin Strawberry Daiquiri

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Virgin Strawberry Daiquiri Yum
Sometimes you just fancy a special drink, but whether you are an expectant mother or simply prefer to abstain from alcohol the options can be limited. So here is a fresh, summery and beautifully coloured virgin Strawberry Daiquiri recipe which will do the job just nicely. Better yet, it can be blitzed and ready to pour in a matter of moments. Serve in a jam jar for an on-trend and rustic look.
Course Sweet Things
Servings
Ingredients
Course Sweet Things
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Add the lime juice, sugar and strawberries to the crushed ice
  2. Blend until smooth
  3. Pour into a jam jar or your favourite glass
  4. Garnish with an extra strawberry or any fruit of your choice.